Your home is your haven, your sanctuary, your retreat and the one place where you should be able to relax after a stressful day. However, making it all of these things depends on getting the interior exactly right. Whether your focus is on a living room, a bedroom, a bathroom or all three, here are some ideas to help you.
Like anything else in interior design, colours go in and out of fashion. When choosing a colour scheme for your cosy living spaces, you need to focus on tones and shades rather than the colours themselves. In other words, it matters less whether you plump for today’s fashionable greys or yellows or last year’s teal and more that you select warm shades.
Bear in mind that sticking to a limited colour palette can be particularly effective. It focuses your attention on the textures of the pieces you choose and reduces the opportunity for multiple colours to jostle for attention. Using metallics, particularly in copper, gold and rose gold tones, as accent colours adds extra interest. This tip works whether you choose practical pieces such as brass-topped table or decorative ones like a copper hearth kettle.
Texture and pattern
It is in living rooms and bedrooms where texture really comes into its own. Think about how a sheepskin rug on the floor, a velvet cushion on a bed or a knitted throw over the arm of a sofa makes you feel. Just as the texture of certain fabrics makes you want to snuggle up against them so can the texture of more surprising items have a similarly soothing effect. Take floors. A parquet wooden floor seems warmer and more welcoming than a smoother, more featureless alternative. However, if you find yourself stuck with less than ideal flooring, use rugs to soften the look.
Although large patterns can be overwhelming and small ones too fussy, a carefully chosen pattern gives a room a new dimension and a point of interest. You could even combine texture and pattern in the form of a rug, cushions or similar.
Whether you are a fan of certain artificial fragrances, prefer fresh flowers or would always opt for the clean air smell drawn in by an open window, getting your home’s scent right is crucial. Clever hacks include wiping radiators with your fragrance of choice or, of course, you can achieve a simple but effective result by brewing some coffee or baking cakes flavoured with vanilla or cinnamon. If you choose cut flowers to fragrance your home, make sure you keep their water topped up and remove any dying blooms.
Plants and greenery
Followers of the Scandinavian hygge trend will be familiar with the idea of using living plants to enhance a home. Easy-to-care-for specimens, such as spider plants, are ideal and have the additional benefit of possessing luxuriant foliage. Position yours on top of a bookcase or floating wall shelf to maximise the plant’s effect.
Succulents are popular and especially effective when planted in pots that tie in with the rest of the room. Consider grouping smaller ones in twos and threes for added interest.
Not everyone is green-fingered and you may decide that caring for living plants is beyond you. Fortunately, realistic fakes are widely available and often look just as effective.
While an open fire or luxurious wood-burning stove might be the ideal in both practical and aesthetic terms, there are other options. Even if a chimney itself is unusable, consider opening up a fireplace and filling the space with sweet-scented pine cones or decorative glass bottles filled with fairy lights. You can also buy very convincing and practical imitation wood-burning stoves that actually run off gas or electricity.
Never underestimate the power of good lighting. The effect of an otherwise cosy room can be ruined by an intrusive overhead light or, conversely, lighting that is inadequate for whatever it is that you want to do in the room.
As a general rule, lamps are better at making a space welcoming and cosy than overhead lights. Although sometimes tricky to put up, fairy-lights are excellent at giving a room the right atmosphere. So too, with appropriate safety precautions, are candles. Whatever type of lighting you choose, think about the interplay between pools of light and shadows, and ensure you choose warm-toned bulbs rather than bright white.